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Can Family Child Care Home Providers Influence Children's Vegetable Consumption?

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Saima Hasnin

Co-Principal Investigators: Dipti Dev

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Buffett Early Childhood Institute

Award Date: Jul 1, 2021

End Date: Sep 29, 2023


Early childhood obesity is a major public health problem in the United States, afflicting children from low-income and minority families in rural areas disproportionately with an increased risk for long-term health disparities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Children’s vegetable consumption has been consistently lower than the recommendation, which has been linked to the higher prevalence of obesity in children. Child care providers and parents have reported concerns that children do not like the taste of vegetables. Preparation of vegetables is an effective method to improve taste acceptance for vegetables. 

This study is designed to understand family child care home (FCCH) providers’ preparation and serving practices of vegetables, and their influence on children’s vegetable consumption. It also aims to assess an effective and convenient method to measure children’s vegetable consumption at FCCHs. 

Researchers will also validate the use of the Veggie Meter® to measure 3- to 5-year-old children’s vegetable consumption in FCCHs. 

Study participants will include 32 CACFP participating FCCH providers and 64 children (ages 3 to 5) in these FCCH settings, recruited from rural communities in Nebraska. 

Data collection methods in the current study will involve quantitative surveys responded by FCCH providers and parents, child level-data collection for vegetable consumption and skin-carotenoid readings using the Veggie Meter®.

Early Childhood Education and Development

Saima Hasnin, assistant professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois — and a University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate — explored family child care home providers’ preparation and serving of vegetables to better understand their influence on children’s dietary habits.
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